The video message recently released by the al-Furqan media network, showing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for the first time since 2014, turned the spotlight on the presence of the Islamic State (IS) in the Sahel – the region of Western Africa south of Sahara.
The political situation in Sudan since the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir has gradually become more readable and less unpredictable. In the last few weeks, the main stakeholders came to the forefront of the political stage, asserting their objectives and hinting about their political strategies through their tactics and demands.
This week’s national election in South Africa will be the sixth in country's history since the end of the apartheid regime in 1994. The last five years have been a politically turbulent time. President Jacob Zuma was forced to resign on the basis of corruption charges. In December 2017, the former anti-apartheid activist Cyril Ramaphosa – a favourite of Nelson Mandela's – was voted in as thkie new head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
The 2019 elections coincide with an important milestone in South Africa’s history: it is also the 25th anniversary of the country’s first ever democratically-held elections. The country is approaching these elections in the wake of some shocking reports of state corruption and graft reaching to the highest offices of leadership. Continuing high levels of poverty and unemployment, skewed development, lack of progress on transformation and stagnant growth have all dampened enthusiasm for the upcoming polls.
There is little doubt that Cyril Ramaphosa, the incumbent president of South Africa and the African National Congress (ANC), will come out on top in the upcoming election. The aim is to obtain at least 60% of the vote to prevent unlikely coalitions in parliament with the main opposition parties. This would improve on the result of the 2016 municipal elections, when the oldest African liberation movement gained “only” 53% of the vote.
South Africa will hold its sixth elections since its transition to democracy 25 years ago. The elections take on added significance in the corrosive aftermath of nine years under former president Jacob Zuma. This period undermined the embryonic foundations of constitutional rule through a destructive “state capture” project, with widespread systemic corruption, fraud, and abuse of power as the main manifestations.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) still holds power in a nearly hegemonic way. Nevertheless, the popularity of the party is decreasing while economic and social inequalities are deeply entrenched in the country.
Forthcoming South Africa’s national elections, which will be held on the 8th of May 2019, will be one of the most contested elections in the country’s history. Forty-seven political parties will challenge the ruling African National Congress (ANC) – who held 62% of the vote in the last general elections – for control of the National Parliament. As the various electoral candidates canvass the villages, townships and suburbs ahead of these important elections, the media has revisited the contested subject of xenophobic violence.
In December 2017, the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as head of the African National Congress (ANC) during the 54th National Conference of the party was hailed by international analysts and financial markets as the beginning of the return of South Africa, Africa's second largest economy, to business and investor-friendly policies. At the same conference, however, the ANC also approved a document committing the government to support an amendment to the 1996 constitution to allow the state to expropriate land without having to pay compensation to owners.